# {the average is X} vs {the average is of X}

The average is 10 people per month

The average is of 10 people per month

Which phrase is better? The first one seems more natural, but I'm not so sure, and google seems to tell me both are used.

I think my confusion has to do with how average is usually used:

With an average of 10 ...

An example of use could be (quite similar to mine):

In Japan, the average is of 32% for men and 29% for women.

Another one, which could have a different meaning:

Sedulously, you begin writing out twenty-five consecutive numbers, hoping to be able to find what percent the average is of the total.

• You did not make a case for using is of. You might Google search for some examples using it, and add them to your question. Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 17:39
• I didn't add any example because those could very well be typos. I mean, my example pretty much does the job (meaning, there isn't that much of a difference). Anyway I'll add one.
– drM.
Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 17:43
• The first example looks like an editorial error. The second is a complex but correct sentence; emphasizing as in "... Hoping to be able to find what the percentage is from the total" can make it clearer. Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 18:48
• @laugh yeah I edited the question so that if someone else will ever need it, he won't have to deal with errors
– drM.
Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 7:13

1. The average is 10 people per month, which is within acceptable limits. (OK to use)
2. The average of 10 people per month is within acceptable limits. (OK to use)
3. The average is of 10 people per month, which is within acceptable limits. (Not OK to use)

The first sentence tells me the result of calculating the average. It was 10 people per month.

The second sentence tells me that the average, which happens to be 10 people per month, is OK. I could also say "The average is OK."

The third sentence isn't something I would recommend using. It's not obviously ungrammatical, but it isn't meaningful in AmE. I have seen some results in apparently well-written documents, but the usage seems almost exclusive to Indian English, like this book.

The third sentence could mean the average is calculated from some sample of 10 people per month, but it's really confusing how you would average people together. You have to calculate the average test score, or the average weight, or some other measurable characteristic of a person.

The only way I can think of to use "The average is of" in a meaningful sentence is like this:

I calculated some statistics for my paper. One average is of the length of the sentences where the word 'however' is used. That average is much higher than the average length of the sentences without the word 'however'.

A more common way of writing it would be:

I calculated some statistics for my paper. I averaged the length of the sentences where the word 'however' is used. That average is much higher than the average length of the sentences without the word 'however'.

The only way I can think of to interpret "the average is of" is that it is explaining what group of things the average was calculated using. I compare it to "The photo is of my family." which means the picture is a representation of my family and it isn't equivalent to my family. An average that "is of something" is a representation of that something but the average doesn't equal that something.

Some other ways that this could show up in a search, but not have the same sense as sentence #3:

The average is, of course, 50% of the total. (Many people are allergic to commas and so you might see this without punctuation)
The average is of interest because it is a good estimate of what we might expect in most circumstances.
Now the average is of around 210 pieces, but there are already companies above the 225 mark.Source (I think I would prefer "The average is around/about/approximately 210 pieces")

• I'm not sure I understand the meaning of average is of in your last example. Would "One average is about- the length" mean the same?
– drM.
Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 18:27
• @drM. No is something different when you say "the average is of". I edited my answer to try to explain it. Oh wait I may have misunderstood your comment. I read it like "the length is about a foot" and you meant something like "the story is about the boy". Let me think about that. Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 18:41
• Yeah I meant like "about the boy" which is also what the your explanation now suggest. I didn't think about "is of" that way, probably because as you stated there are more common way of writing it. But that's it, that's why it could be used (not in my case tho').
– drM.
Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 21:11